Stockholm university

Theatre and Performance Studies

Focusing on the performing arts, public performances, and performances of everyday life, Theatre and Performance Studies ‘recognize and insist on the interdependency of a related series of disciplines and also on the role of performance in the production of culture in its widest sense’.

Subject description

Theatre and Performance Studies at Stockholm University are part of the Department of Culture and Aesthetics. Focusing on the performing arts, public performances, and performances of everyday life, Theatre and Performance Studies ‘recognize and insist on the interdependency of a related series of disciplines and also on the role of performance in the production of culture in its widest sense’ (Reinelt & Roach 2007: 5). Our research engages in transnational and trans-disc as well as related research areas and methodologies. Studies span from historical contexts to the contemporary stage.

Cultural performances have a particular focus of critical analysis. Our scholarly activities – including both research and teaching – are based on critical theory, stressing the social relevance of the humanities and the political responsibility of the individual scholar.

Master’s Programme in Performance Studies, 120 ECTS
The International Master in Performance Studies is an innovative study programme aiming to provide students with excellent competences and skills for a profession in the performing arts and cultural field.

Performing arts today operate more and more on a global and international level. Due to these developments professional fields related to theatre and performance are changing and require intercultural knowledge and specific skills to be able to cope with project-related and curational challenges. At the same time the study programme will expand the students' understanding of theatre and provide advanced theories and methods for the in-depth analysis of international contemporary and historical performance practices. A special emphasis is on dramaturgy and curational practices.

The master’s programme demands full time studies of four semesters (120 ECTS) and includes obligatory (60 ECTS) as well as eligible (30 ECTS) courses. One semester term consists normally for four courses of 7.5 ECTS. The master’s thesis takes one semester term (30 ECTS).

All teaching is conducted in English.

Courses and programmes


For a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Performance Studies you can choose to study individual courses or join the bachelor program listed under Educations within the subject.

A master’s degree in Theatre and Performance Studies can only be obtained through enrolment in one of the master’s programmes listed under Educations within the subject.

More information about degrees at Stockholm University


Theatre Studies, which also includes Dance Studies and Performance Studies, is an active and internationally oriented research environment.

The following four aspects characterize our research and teaching at Stockholm University.

  1. The relationship between the performing arts and society: As researchers, we approach theatre, dance and performance as an event, which means that the performing arts should be understood in relation to their specific social and cultural contexts. This event-oriented understanding involves a dynamic approach to the interaction and communication between the stage and the auditorium that takes into account the audience’s different experiences, but also the material, organisational and cultural policy aspects that enable the events that our researchers analyse.
  2. A broad and inclusive understanding of theatre: Theatre scholars use an expanded and non-discriminating notion of theatre and our research focuses on amateur theatre, artivism, ballet and contemporary dance, children’s and youth theatre, burlesque, circus, feminist performance, independent ensembles, diva cult, puppet theatre, immersive theatre, Japanese Noh theatre, costume history, musicals, opera, performance art, political demonstrations, political theatre, popular culture, post-dramatic theatre, queer performing arts, performing arts criticism, spoken drama and Indigenous performing arts and performances, as well as theatrical events in the public space. This broad understanding of theatre is inspired by developments in the contemporary performing arts and is often positively highlighted by our international exchange students.
  3. Bodies: The performing arts involve bodily practices. For theatre scholars, this means that our interest focuses on bodies and embodied actions in different spaces. Bodies express themselves in different ways; they age and are differently abled, perform a variety of gendered expressions and sexualities, have different class backgrounds, or might have technological implants, to name just a few. Bodies are also treated differently and are often subjected to violence and discrimination. To do justice to the complexity of bodies and bodily practices, our researchers use critical and interdisciplinary perspectives such as gender and queer theory, postcolonial studies and perspectives from children and youth culture in their projects.
  4. A cosmopolitan research environment: Theatre Studies, Dance Studies and Performance Studies as research areas constitute a cosmopolitan research environment. We have an internationally composed faculty body that speaks twelve different languages and actively uses these in their research.

Read more about our research